It turns out that in a lot of respects Spain means fun and fiesta. Every city, every pueblo has a local fiesta at some point in the year. Often, they are religious in nature, and they may even be celebrated about the calendar day for the patron saint of that city. A good example would be the running of the bulls in Pamplona, more properly called “Los San Fermines” since the fiesta is to celebrate the patron saint of Pamplona, San Fermine. The festival starts on July 6 but the important day is the 7th. That is when there is a procession with the 15th century statue of San Fermine, and when the week of running with the bulls begins.
Over the years I went to and photographed many fiestas. One of the things that caught my attention was how often, in a conversation with one of the locals, the subject of money came up. There always seemed to be some pride in how much money was invested in everyone having a good time.
Another thing that caught my attention frequently was the matter of public safety – you see, it always seemed to me that fun trumped safety. I guess the best example of that I’ve already mentioned – the encierros, or running of the bulls. While Pamplona is well known by foreigners, there are many other encierros in Spain, and I was pleasantly surprised by the one in Ciudad Rodrigo – more on that later.